USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and innovative production

Emma Futz is spending her summer in the tool shed at Bridger Park Community Garden making sure participants have the what they need.

LOGAN – There is a need for more community gardens in Cache Valley, said Megan Dyer who works for the Cache County Extension Office in Logan. With all the multifamily housing units, there is no place for people to put a garden she said.

“A lot of people don’t even have a patio to grow stuff on,” Dyer said. “Many students who come to Utah State University have had a garden before they came here and could use a place to grow something. And low income families could use a garden as a place to raise food.”

Emma Futz, an intern for Cache County Extension Office, spends her days at the tool shed at the Bridger Park Community Garden watching the community garden. She makes sure everyone has the tools they need.

The garden has 50 beds and Dyer said she doesn’t have any trouble finding people who want to use them.

“We generally use five to 10 of the beds for research,” she said. “This year we are using four beds for research.”

There is a pollinator garden included with over 118 water wise native plants that survive on little water. There are also five or six varieties of apple and peach trees. They also grow berries and grapes.

Dyer said March was a madhouse with people trying get a garden spot.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging communities and families to create gardens on rooftops, indoors, traditional, non-traditional and other urban farms to be successful at their craft. They recently announced grants to help establish community gardens and compensate people for start-up costs.

The USDA allocated $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.

The Office for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was organized after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed by both the house and senate and signed into law by President Trump.

The competitive grants are intended to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. They will accept applications on their website Grants.gov until midnight, July 6, 2020.

“These grant opportunities underscore USDA’s commitment to all segments of agriculture, including swiftly expanding areas of urban agriculture,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “Such projects have the potential to address important issues such as food access and education and to support innovative ways to increase local food production in urban environments.”

“We are proud to be able to offer support though this cross-agency effort,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach. “In creating this grant opportunity, USDA will build upon its years of experience providing technical support, grant funding and research to help farmers and local and urban food businesses grow.”

USDA has made available $1 million for Planning Projects that initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target a variety of agriculture areas.

USDA made available $2 million for Implementation Projects that accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers.

Projects should improve access to local food and collaborate with other organizations that may support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, educational endeavors and urban farming policy implementation.

The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production will hold a webinar on June 3, 2020, from 4 to 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. It will provide an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. Information on how to register for and participate in the webinar, or listen to the recording, will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.

More information is available at farmers.gov/urban.

Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include AMS grants to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers and FSA loans.

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1 Comment

  • Tom James June 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Pretty sure the interns last name is spelled Fuez, not Futz

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